Treasurer Tells What It's Like To Get Coronavirus

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Benton County Treasurer Rick Renno tested positive for the coronavirus on July 30, with only short-lived symptoms. He is under self-quarantine at home, and his business, the Oar House, is closed until August 6 while his staff members are tested.
“On Wednesday evening (July 29), I was at work at the Oar House, and didn’t feel good,” said Renno. “I went to lie down at the house that I have adjacent to the restaurant. Upon waking up had a fever and went back to have it checked before returning to my home in Lincoln. I left by the back door of the restaurant so as to avoid contact with employees or customers, and have not been back since. On Thursday morning, I felt fine and thought that I had experienced a 12-hour flu bug. But, because I am in the food service business, and wanted to be overly cautious, I went to the Bothwell walk-in clinic in Sedalia to be tested for COVID-19. Although I didn’t feel any more symptoms, I stayed home and on Saturday evening got a call from Sedalia telling me that I had tested positive for coronavirus. I also have stayed away from the Courthouse with one exception. As treasurer, I had to close the books out on August 31. So I went to the courthouse on Saturday while it was closed so I should not expose any other employees. It was something that is required for the clerk’s office to continue on in the new month.”
Renno said that he received a call from the Benton County Health Department (BCHD) and he was told that he needed to be quarantined. He was asked if he had symptoms such as headache, stomach ache, loss of smell or taste, or diarrhea, and was told that the timeframe for self-quarantine is 14 days following the last day of exposure to someone with COVID-19. That is because it is usually two to five days after being exposed that symptoms begin to set in after the virus is taking the time to invade the body’s cells and replicate. After symptoms show, then about 10 days of quarantine should follow while antibodies form and do their work. Renno did not know when or where he was exposed to the virus, but BCHD said that he should be clear to resume normal activities by August 8.
“I called my contact at the health department to ask the protocols regarding COVID-19,” said Renno. “I was told that if a person has been within six feet of someone who has symptoms of COVID-19, for 15 minutes or more, that is called a close contact and it is recommended that the person stay at home for 14 days. A person that has been more than six feet away, for less than 15 minutes, from a person with symptoms, is considered a possible contact. All of the staff at the Oar House were determined to be possible contacts, and thus are being tested. The testing is free either with their insurance, or will be paid for by the state. I am paying the employees extra money on their paychecks to cover their time and gas when they are tested. If they all test negative, then we feel that we will have gotten off easy and can continue to be open. If someone tests positive, we will consult the BCHD for guidance.”
Renno posted a notice on his restaurant door on Sunday, August 2, when the restaurant was still open that read as follows.
As per Benton County Health Department guidelines all employees at ricks Oar House will wear a facial mask during business hours. Masks for customers are optional. This is for both the employees’ protection and your protection due to the fact of a POSSIBLE CONTACT with a person that tested positive for COVID-19. In the interest of transparency and honesty we are happy to answer any questions you have concerning this situation. We understand your decision whether to come in or to temporarily suspend doing business with us. We appreciate your support through these trying times.
“Ninety-five percent of our customers came in,” said Renno. “Only some elderly customers who were more at risk stayed away.
Renno said that there were all kinds of rumors being spread about his positive coronavirus test, and he decided to be open about exactly what happened, and the timing involved. He posted information on Facebook and he said that he had gotten many favorable responses.
Renno says that family members are getting groceries for him and depositing them on his front porch. As far as his Treasurer duties, he says that if anyone needs to contact him they may call his office at 660-438-6313 and leave a message. If something needs to be dropped off to the Treasurer, it can be left with the County Clerk.